Movie review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell have gone home with accolades at major awards shows such as the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards, and it looks like they will keep winning at the upcoming Baftas and Oscars too.
And deservedly so.
Three Billboards earned seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actress for McDormand, and Best Supporting Actor for both Rockwell and Woody Harrelson.
Writer-director Martin McDonagh has crafted a heartfelt, clever, character-driven story about violence, revenge and redemption that truly resonates.
But the film will not have such mileage without McDormand and Rockwell's impeccable performances.
McDonagh wrote the characters with both actors in mind.
The British film-maker should also thank McDormand's husband, fellow film-maker Joel Coen, for convincing her to take on the role.
McDormand fleshes out Mildred's emotions superbly. You really feel her pain, her loss, her rage, her guilt, and her desperation for closure.
She also shows Mildred's many flaws, painting a clear picture that she is neither a saint nor a model parent, and the balance is cleverly played out.
Rockwell's impulsive, racist police officer Dixon is also multi-faceted, and Rockwell skilfully plays him in a way that he doesn't come across as an annoying, one-dimensional antagonist.
Harrelson is fantastic as the guilt-ridden Willoughby.
He wants to solve the crime and genuinely empathises with Mildred, but the case simply could not be solved.
Praise is also in order for the supporting cast comprising Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges and Caleb Landry Jones.
MOVIE: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
STARRING: Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson
WRITER-DIRECTOR: Martin McDonagh
THE SKINNY: Furious that the local authorities failed to solve her daughter's rape-murder case, grieving Mildred (McDormand) takes out three billboards with a controversial message directed at the town's police chief Willoughby (Harrelson).